The Government gave the green light for the housing market to re-open on 13th May (which is great news) but we are still very conscious of the danger presented by Covid-19. We are making the necessary arrangements to re-open the office from 1st June, in the meantime our team are still working from home & we are available to assist you with your new business enquiry or existing sale or tenancy enquiry. Once we are open we will have strict policies in place to enable us to adhere to social distancing regulations and we will only be allowing one person at a time to come in. Its highly likely that some our team will be working from home for a while longer.
If you have seen a property you would like to view we will happily let you have a look round on the basis that the safety rules set out by us are followed. Don't be offended if we don't come into the property with you as in the nicest possible way, we need to keep our distance from you for the time being. It may be a little more trickier for us to let you view a property that is occupied by the Vendor or Tenants as some people understandably don't feel comfortable having people in their homes or are in a vulnerable position themselves. If you have them, please wear disposable protective gloves whilst you are looking around the property and refrain from touching anything. We will turn up a while before the viewing time to open all the doors & windows so please don't try and enter the property before the booked time.
We have uploaded as many virtual viewing tours as possible but we weren't able to access all of the properties before lockdown was imposed.
For new lets, we are able to complete a contactless move in; Reference checks will be completed on all applicants over the age of 18 using our online service provider and we will check your ID by either video call or by you sending us a selfie of you holding your photo ID. Tenancy agreements can be electronically signed and keys can be collected from the lock box situated outside our office or by appointment to visit our office.
We all must try and carry on as normally as possible during these challenging times. Please stay safe everybody
Our staff will be working from home & office hours have been reduced from 10am - 4pm Monday - Friday until further notice. You can still call us on 01604 874400 and chose the option you require. Please note that your call will be forwarded to a mobile number of one of our team members.
If you have contacted us about a property viewing please be aware that we may not be able to physically show you around the property due the stay at home and social distancing orders from the UK Government. We have uploaded video tours where possible to enable you to virtually view the property.
Please do not be offended if we refuse to physically show you around a property. We are responsible Agents and we will not put you or our Staff at risk of Covid-19.
We can complete a totally contactless move in if your house move is essential where keys are left for you to collect from a lock box outside our office. Reference checks will be completed on all applicants over the age of 18 using our online service provider and we will check your ID by either video call or by you sending us a selfie of you holding your photo ID.
if you have an emergency out of hours issue please call 07903 742377. Please note that some non maintenance work will not be undertaken at all during the period of lockdown and each issue will be assessed individually.
emails have been sent out to all current clients to advise of our Covid-19 action plan , please check your junk mail in case it has filtered into there.
Our office will be closed until further notice but we will do our utmost to ensure that our service continues during these turbulent weeks or months ahead.
More legislation is due to hit the private rental sector this year. All new tenancies that commence from 1st July 2020 will have to have a full electrical check completed, all existing tenancies will need to comply by 1st April 2021.
Click on the image below for the full details published by the Government:
If you need an electrical inspection completed give us a call on 01604 874400 and we will be happy to arrange it for you, even if we don't manage your property.
It is that time of year again to submit your tax return. It's a necessary evil for all self employed people (including buy to let Landlords). The deadline for 2018/2019 is 31 January 2020. If you don't use an accountant and are going it alone, click on the image below to see support & guidance from the Government website:
Don't delay …. get your tax return done by 31st January. We are always prepared for the last minute requests from our Landlords for a tax year statement, some go right down to the wire.
Landlords of the properties with a low energy efficiency rating will be required to upgrade their properties ahead of new rules requiring energy efficiency upgrades. Since April 2018, new rules have been in place across England and Wales, setting out minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES).
These regulations made it illegal for landlords to issue a new lease for properties that have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating below E, from 1 April 2018, unless the property is registered as an exemption.
While April 2018 saw the initial change in the rules regarding energy efficiency standards, the new regulations will affect ALL rental properties, irrespective of the length of tenancy. As of April 2020, it will be illegal to rent out any property that has an existing or continuing tenancy that fails to meet the minimum required energy rating.
The government may raise this target in the not too distant future and its expected that a rating of ‘D’ will be the minimum EPC rating. Its recommended that you make the improvements now to prevent having to do even more work in a couple of years. To help Landlords understand the rules changes, Fladgate, a city law firm, has shared some information below:
Do I benefit from an exemption?
If your property is caught by the EPC regime, you must comply with the MEES Regulations, unless you can rely on one of a few exemptions available to landlords, including but not limited to:
1. Exemption due to devaluation – a temporary exemption of 5 years will apply if a landlord can demonstrate that the installation of energy efficiency measures would reduce the market value of the property by more than 5%;
2. Exemption for new landlords – if a person becomes a landlord recently or suddenly in specified circumstances under the MEES Regulations, a temporary exemption of six months will apply; and/or
3. Third party consent – if a landlord cannot obtain necessary third party consents to improve the EPC rating of the property (including but not limited to lender consent, superior landlord consent and/or tenant consent), then a landlord may let a “sub-standard” property.
A landlord wishing to rely upon an exemption must register an exemption on the online Private Rented Sector Exemptions Register. Local authorities give and keep these fines and so are incentivised to enforce the legislation.
What if I don’t comply with the MEES Regulations?
If a landlord fails to comply with the MEES Regulations, there are financial penalties, which vary depending upon the length of the breach.
A landlord renting out a “non-compliant” property (less than three months in breach) may be fined up to either £5,000 or 10% of a rateable value up to a maximum of £50,000, whichever is greater.
A landlord renting out a “non-compliant” property (three months or more in breach) may be fined up to either £10,000 or 20% of the rateable value up to a maximum of £150,000, whichever is greater.
There is also a fine of up to £5,000 for providing false or misleading information, or failing to comply with a compliance notice. Click on the image below to see the full guidance published by the Government.
What should I do?
The tightening of the MEES Regulations imposes further onerous obligations on landlords operating within the private rented sector.
If you have a property with an EPC rating of F or G then unless one of the exemptions referred to above applies, you should begin preparing now for the extension of the regulations to existing tenancies to take effect on 1st April 2020.
As the deadline fast approaches, landlords would be well advised to consider the following, in order to protect their assets:
1. Review your property or property portfolios to identify whether or not properties are compliant;
2. Consider the cost and extent of any works required;
3. Consider access to the properties (lease terms permitting) to carry out works required to bring the properties up to the minimum ‘E’ rating; and
4. Consider whether any exemptions may be relied upon.
Failure to do so will impact upon landlords’ abilities to market and deal with their properties.